We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Many forms of atheism, and plenty of atheists appear to attend church or synagogue for all sorts of reasons - including the hope that faith might be contagious. One quote from Novak's post:
Some years ago I read a book on atheism, by a devout atheist (if that is the right word), who had found to his surprise that a large majority of those Americans who call themselves atheists actually believe in some more-than-human power, force, intelligence in all things. This is a position not altogether unlike the ancients (and the moderns) described in #3 above. The ancients did not call such persons atheists, but held them to be theists, albeit under a vague and unclear sort of deity, but intelligent and powerful and drawing all things toward the good.
"Higher Power"? That is certainly a form of theism albeit undeveloped.
Of the human cultures that exist and have existed, I can think of none that did not worship a higher deity.
It's a scary universe, and once beyond our parents' protection, we need supplementary help.
Oh, do we need help.
Was it C. S. Lewis who said that he discovered that when he prays, it does not change God, but it changes him?
Religion is valuable to society on many levels, but one is that people who believe there is a higher power, "who makes the rules" tend to be more humble. People who have no such tether are susceptible to thinking their desires are more important than anything or anybody.
We may need "supplemetary help". Grow up. There isn't any.
"Religion is valuable". Yes to priests. Yes if you want war and the slaughter of millions and yes if you can't bear truth, facts and science.
You "admire my faith". Meaningless twaddle. Any atheist will tell you that the comment doesn't make any sense to them. Faith is belief without and usually contrary to evidence. That's religion.
The problem lies with the word "atheism." It defines a huge potential range of thought and faith against a single negation of conventional belief in a personal, humanistic god.
I've long thought that our experience of a power greater than ourselves at work in the universe might be expressed in a new narrative formed from our 21st century vocabulary. Our Judeo-Christian culture is one that has ideas of justice, morals, personal conduct and internal control and rewards that we discard at our great risk.
But maybe we can develop a image of that greater power that isn't some old guy with a white beard.
No, using the word "atheist" isn't a fair or accurate tag for someone with an unconventional religous view in Western society.